I heard Glenn Beck this morning describe a new movie, The Promise, and at his encouragement saw it tonight. It was a good movie but also difficult. It tells a remarkable story set in a historically accurate background. As hard as it was to watch, it was even harder to make. And that brings us to the point of this Blog.
We recently explained Chinese influence in Hollywood and how this can be a form of economic warfare. The key point is that culture is upstream of politics and entertainment is upstream of culture. Those who control the entertainment industry have a direct impact on the culture and eventually the politics. For those who don't believe this, just consider the remarkable shift in attitudes toward homosexual marriage over the past few decades. That cultural shift, now enforced by the political class, would not have happened without the entertainment industry.
In our last post, we explained that China has a purposeful influence operation at work in Hollywood. They have done this with money. Shortly after our post was released, we were sent an article from The Times of London where Hollywood legend Richard Gere states that he has been denied movie roles because of Chinese influence:
Chinese influence in Hollywood has cost me film roles, says Richard Gere
Richard Gere has spent decades criticising China's occupation of Tibet in interviews, at street protests and even from the Oscar podium — and now he suspects that he is paying the price.
Whereas his call for a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 fell flat, Gere believes that China has been rather more effective at persuading Hollywood to boycott him.
"There are definitely movies that I can't be in because the Chinese will say, ‘Not with him'," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I recently had an episode where someone said they could not finance a film with me because it would upset the Chinese."
On another occasion he was two weeks away from starting shooting on a small production with a Chinese director…
That's pretty remarkable considering how loved Richard Gere is in Hollywood, as is his friend the Dalai Lama. But money speaks very loudly. Sadly, a good deal of the money that is speaking in Hollywood is now coming from Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company that took in $25 billion in its IPO a couple of years ago. It's sad because the money being spent to influence Americans largely came from us when we bought Alibaba shares. Actually, American investors really bought shares in a Cayman Islands corporation rather than the Chinese company due to restrictions on foreign ownership. But that's another story. Here are three articles on Alibaba buying up key Hollywood assets:
China's Alibaba look to buy Billboard and the Hollywood Reporter
Jack Ma, Spielberg Strike Deal to Bring Hollywood to China
China's Alibaba to Invest $7.2B in Entertainment Over Three YearsNow, just a few days later, we have reminder of another influence operation story regarding Hollywood. The effort has been to keep the American people from knowing the truth for over eight decades. Free speech and truth have been silenced by money, even in the entertainment industry. And, the impact on culture is intended with an eye toward controlling politics. This is truly a form of economic warfare. We already know that there will be no depictions of Mohammed due to blasphemy laws. There is a push to prevent any criticism of Islam or its founding prophet, even on Facebook. This isn't a new phenomenon. In fact, the history of The Promise demonstrates how Hollywood has been influenced. The movie describes the horrific genocide of up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians over a century ago. Anyone with any sense of history should recognize that the genocide absolutely led to Hitler's holocaust that murdered as many as 11 million Jews. The making of The Promise creatively began more than eight decades ago and was slated to star Clark Gable. But an influence operation intervened with the clear intention of denying the truth of the genocide. That influence operation continues today with the clear intention of keeping The Promise from success as explained in today's edition of The Daily Good:
In 1934, almost two decades after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, MGM Studios cast a budding young actor named Clark Gable to star in a movie called The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. Based on a novel of the same name, the film would tell the story of Gabriel Bagradian, a wealthy academic who—upon returning from Paris to his Armenian village in what is now modern-day Turkey—is forced to help defend his village against the genocidal onslaught of the Ottoman army.
The film, however, never made it to production. After fielding complaints from the Turkish ambassador about the project—which, he said, would reopen the "Armenian Question," about whether what happened in Armenia at the hands of the Turkish government could be termed "genocide"—the U.S. State Department pressured MGM to drop the film in an effort to protect its political relationship with Turkey. The studio put up a fight, but eventually caved and dropped the movie . . .
The Promise is the auspicious victory of a long, hard struggle to memorialize the Armenian Genocide in popular culture, largely because the Turkish government still refuses to acknowledge their actions as a "genocide," for reasons that have both to do with national pride and monetary reparations. To this day, Turkish lawmakers cite an article in their penal code in order to censor journalists, professors, and activists who speak too brazenly about what transpired. And, in an effort to preserve relations with Turkey—a major geopolitical power in the Middle East—no U.S. president has uttered the word "genocide" in any official commemorations of the anniversary either—not even Barack Obama, who, while still a senator, made a promise that he would do so.
"There has been a very well-organized systematic attempt to suppress the story, as the final phase of genocide," says The Promise producer Eric Esrailian. "You're dealing with all the weight of that denial for 102 years now. So there's a general lack of awareness in the population, particularly in the United States, about the Armenian Genocide because of that."
The problem with avoiding the truth is simple. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Here's the tragic thing. The slaughter of Christians starting in 1915 was not the first, just the largest such genocide at the hands of the Turks. In fact, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) witnessed a massacre first hand in 1861.
From today's edition of The American Minute by good friend Bill Federer:
In his book Innocents Abroad, 1869, which established his reputation as a writer, Mark Twain described Syria under the Ottoman Turkish Empire:
"Five thousand Christians…were massacred in Damascus in 1861 by the Turks…
Narrow streets ran blood for several days, and that men, women and children were butchered indiscriminately and left to rot by hundreds all through the Christian quarter…the stench was dreadful.
…All the Christians who could get away fled from the city, and the Mohammedans would not defile their hands by burying the ‘infidel dogs.'
…The thirst for blood extended to the high lands of Hermon and Anti-Lebanon, and in a short time twenty-five thousand more Christians were massacred…"
What we have been seeing across the Middle East in recent years has been an attempted extermination of Christianity. Yet, the American media has remained shamefully silent. History repeating itself?
In addition to the modern media blackout, we are also sadly seeing history repeat itself in Turkey with an emerging dictator. From The New Yorker:
TURKEY'S VOTE MAKES ERDOĞAN EFFECTIVELY A DICTATOR
By Dexter Filkins, April 17, 2017
Fifteen years ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the hope of the Islamic world. He was an Islamist, of course, but that was part of his appeal. As the mayor of Istanbul, one of the world's great cities, Erdoğan had governed as a charismatic and smart technocrat. He'd served time in prison, in 1999—for reading a poem that seemed to celebrate militant Islam—but his jailers had been the country's rigid, military-backed secular leaders who, by then, seemed as suited to the present day as dinosaurs. When Erdoğan became Prime Minister, in 2003, every leader in the West wanted him to succeed. In a world still trying to make sense of the 9/11 attacks, he seemed like a bridge between cultures.
On Sunday, Erdoğan declared himself the winner of a nationwide referendum that all but brings Turkish democracy to an end. The vast new powers granted to Erdoğan—wide control over the judiciary, broad powers to make law by decree, the abolition of the office of the Prime Minister and of Turkey's parliamentary system—effectively make him a dictator. Under the new rules, Erdoğan will be able to run for two more five-year terms, giving him potentially another decade in power, at least. With a vote by the now truncated parliament, he would be able to run for yet another term, one that would end in 2034. By then, he'll be an old man.
The voting took place in a government-created atmosphere of violence, intimidation, and fear. Turks campaigning against the referendum were attacked and even shot at. For much of the past year, Erdoğan's government has been working to stamp out what remained of the democratic opposition to his rule. Since July, some forty thousand people have been detained, including a hundred and fifty journalists. A hundred thousand government employees have been fired, and a hundred and seventy-nine television stations, newspapers, and other media outlets have been closed. Many opposition leaders are in jail. That's not an environment conducive to asking a populace what it wants.
This "end of Democracy in Turkey" is a frightening development. But it will not be the last political intrusion of Islamism in Europe. Along with mass immigration, we are witnessing the rise of Islamic parties in traditionally Christian nations. London has a Muslim mayor, as just one example. Demographically, Islam appears destined to overtake Europe. We are seeing warning signs in Asia as well. And now we know that these democratic movements can be used to deny democracy and establish what is essentially an Islamic dictatorship. We saw the Muslim Brotherhood election takeover in Egypt that enforced a very strict Sharia law until deposed. Democracy is good but not if it becomes suicidal.
All of this is a reason to defy the propaganda and go see The Promise. Armenia was the first nation on earth to adopt Christianity under the miraculous leadership of Saint Gregory the Illuminator. No wonder there has been such an intense demonic effort to wipe out that nation. Amazingly, the man who provided $100 million to make the film, Kirk Kerkorian, did so in his death. Kerkorian passed away in 2015 at the age of 98. But he never forgot his Armenian roots and left the money to make certain the film was made. He was born in Fresno in 1917 to Armenian immigrant parents who had escaped the genocide.
It is a beautiful movie but extremely intense. Check out the MovieGuide review before taking younger people (as it seems more intense than the typical PG-13 rating). The acting is good and the story gripping. I had an unexpected personal connection when I saw the role of the American Ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, Sr. (depicted by James Cromwell). Early in my economic warfare research and briefings, I had the honor to meet with and brief Robert Morgenthau, the grandson of Henry Sr. and the long-term District Attorney of New York. I was taken to that meeting by Jim Woolsey, former Director, Central Intelligence under President Clinton. It was a surreal moment but I recall very clearly how keenly aware DA Morgenthau was of the nature of the threat I was describing. His grandfather was famous but so was his father, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., the Treasury Secretary under FDR. Henry Jr. had advocated the bombing of the trains to Auschwitz to slow the Holocaust. Roosevelt never agreed. Some believe that Morgenthau Jr. was so adamant because he was Jewish. The reality is that he was "so unobservant a Jew that he had never attended a Passover Seder." But he was very aware of history and clearly understood how ignoring the Armenian genocide had paved the way for future mass murders. We must not make this mistake again!
Go see The Promise and defy the economic warfare attempt to silence truth.